Keynoting the Indy Authors Fair (2011)

How Perfect Does Your Manuscript Have to Be?

As part of the 2012 Missouri Writers Guild conference faculty, I did a Q&A for their conference blog that discusses many topics, including: How I got started with social media The difference between marketing objectives, strategies, tactics, and tools How perfect your manuscript must be before submitting to an agent or editor

Wordpress

The Big Mistake of Author Websites and Blogs

     One of the easiest ways for an author to get a site up and running is to use Blogger or WordPress. As convenient as this is, and as wonderful as I find WordPress, this can lead to a critical error. Authors end up using a blog as their website, but aren’t interested in blogging. […]

Janice Hubschman

Writing Advice That Saves You in 5 Years

I just discovered this wonderful article, “Steal This List,” by Janis Hubschman (featured in the latest Glimmer Train bulletin). It features advice that’s worth saving over a period of years—the kind of advice that’s critical to planning, writing, and revision. Here’s a taste: When the story stalls, ask: what is the character thinking now? Is […]

Writer Unboxed

Writers Need More Copywriting Training

Today I’m the featured contributor at Writer Unboxed, where I talk about copywriting: The No. 1 Overlooked Skill for Every Author I’m not quite ready to admit that headline is hyperbole—I’d rather say it’s brilliant copywriting. When it comes down to it, every writer—if they want to earn a living from their craft—must learn how […]

Anthologize

Turn Your WordPress Blog Into a Book

I’ve written about this tool before, but so few people know about it—and it’s so incredibly useful!—that it’s worth mentioning again. Anthologize is a free plug-in for WordPress-based sites and blogs that allows you to manipulate and edit your site content into a book. (Unfortunately, this plugin will only work with self-hosted WordPress sites, not […]

website

3 Reasons to Have a Website If You’re Unpublished

When I tell writers it’s mandatory they have a website, those who are unpublished will immediately ask, “But what do I say on my website if I’m unpublished?” I’ll answer that question in a moment, but this question assumes that there’s no benefit to having a site unless it’s to market, promote, and sell a […]

3 Free Books

3 Free Books to Open Your Eyes to the Future of Authorship

In my most recent e-newsletter, I discussed 3 books (free to all!) that I consider mandatory reading for every author. If you didn’t receive the newsletter, you can view it here. The three books are: Mediactive by Dan Gillmor Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto by Hugh McGuire & Brian O’Leary The Cluetrain Manifesto My newsletter explains […]

Jane's Facebook profile

Too Many Facebook Friends: Blessing or Curse?

On my personal Facebook profile, I am slowly but inevitably reaching the cap for friends (3,810 of 5,000). It’s prompting me to reflect on (1) how exactly I got to this point (2) how many people are turned off by this number (3) if *I* am turned off by this number and (4) what difference the number makes, if […]

How Should You Spend Your Book Marketing Budget?

Author Brad Swift asks the following: I have a number of fiction and nonfiction books now available through Amazon as Kindle editions and POD hard copies (through CreateSpace). The selection can be viewed on my Author’s Page. I’m now wondering if I were to raise capital (say through a KickStarter campaign or otherwise) to promote […]

lone tugboat

A Tugboat Arrived

Today’s guest post is by Louisiana writer Darrelyn Saloom. Read more of her posts here. On a brisk, clear morning in Baton Rouge, I lay in a Hilton hotel bed and watched tiny tugboats push huge barges up the muddy Mississippi. Little did I know, hours later, a tugboat would arrive and tow Deirdre Gogarty […]

Content Curation

3 Tools for Curation

I love a good curator. I find curation more valuable these days than content. My latest e-newsletter focused on 3 curation tools. You can view it here. (Subscribe by clicking here.) I also mention a couple articles related to curation that you should read: Content Is a Service Business (O’Reilly Radar) by Andrew Savikas Accessibility vs. […]

Laura Oliver

What Territory Do You Explore With Your Writing?

I love this insight from Laura Oliver on the writing life, in a post called “Territory.” She discusses the themes that can permeate our writing, sometimes over a lifetime. (I’ve also heard this phenomenon called one’s “ultimate life concern.”) Here’s a snippet: Most writers have a territory they explore for a time—perhaps an entire career. It […]

Jane Knows

When’s the Right Time to Leave Your Big Six Publisher?

I received the following question from published author Lisa Earle McLeod—who I remember first meeting at a Foothills Writers Guild conference in South Carolina: Hi Jane, My first book, Forget Perfect, was published by Perigee (Penguin USA) in 2001. It did moderately well. Now 10 years later, as sales were starting to peter out, Forget […]

Jane Knows

How to Sell Low-Cost Subscriptions to Short Stories

I received the following question from Gail McConnon: Re: Question on Serializing a Short Story Collection through a Paid Subscription I know. That subject header is enough to make the head spin. Just stay with me for a minute, though. There’s something I’d like to do, but haven’t a clue where to start. I’m really […]

Writer Unboxed

Do-It-Yourself vs. Professional Help

Yesterday was my regular contribution to Writer Unboxed. I discussed how some independent authors are putting their work out there with zero professional help. Here’s a snippet: Working with professionals should challenge you. It should raise the bar. You’ll probably feel some doubts about the quality of your work. This is a good thing. Professionals usually […]

Blank Faces by Rommel Adao

I Hate Press Releases

This is part rant, part advice. I don’t write this post as if my needs were everyone’s. But it’s frustrating to see authors AND PUBLISHERS—who probably have little time and resource to begin with—wasting their time by contacting bloggers (and others in the media) with dead-on-arrival press releases. Let’s back up for a moment. What […]

WordPress Plug-Ins: The Bare Essentials

This past weekend, I was a presenter at PodCamp Cincinnati. Many talented people in social media attended from the region, so I learned quite a few things myself. My favorite session was by Daniel J. Lewis, the event organizer, who gave a snappy session on essential WordPress plug-ins. I’m going to share a few recommendations […]

Electric Speed Newsletter

3 Indispensable Software Tools for Writers

This past Sunday, I sent out the latest issue of my e-newsletter, Electric Speed. It featured 3 indispensable software tools for writers. You can view it here. Click here to subscribe & never miss an issue.  

by Emilie Ogez / Flickr

My Secret for Battling Procrastination

To some, I may appear productive. But like many, I’m a horrible procrastinator. I try to think about my weakness in positive terms, e.g., “I work better under pressure.” That is true—I believe there’s nothing like a deadline to force you to be creative (one reason why I love blogging!). However, for some projects, I […]

Are You Worried Your Ideas or Work Will Be Stolen?

I recently received the following question from working writer Shannon Traphagen: I have been fervently working on my novel (I am 5 chapters into writing it) and feel I have a platform like no other. My protagonist and antagonist are strong, and I feel it’s a fictional story that’s never really been done before. I’m very […]

Glacier National Park

3 Questions Every Creative Person Must Ask

I’m starting to find that the same dilemmas come up again and again when I talk with a group about online media and marketing. These are dilemmas that I can’t solve. They boil down to three questions you have to ask yourself—and be able to answer honestly—to find a path that’s your own, not mine. […]

Sean Platt

The Evolving Model of the Entrepreneurial Novelist

It’s pleasure to bring you this insightful Q&A with writer Sean Platt. As his own website states, Sean Platt writes it all. He writes copy, websites, books, and has most recently developed a new epic thriller series, Yesterday’s Gone, with his writing partner, David Wright. In addition to my interest in the creation and marketing of […]

Writer's Digest (October 2011)

Book Proposals in the Digital Age

I started my first publishing job in 1998, and I immediately started reviewing nonfiction book proposals as part of an editorial team. By 2010, what constituted a strong book proposal had dramatically transformed. You can probably guess why. The Internet has forever changed how we discover, access, and distribute information and entertainment. For a nonfiction […]

Will Boast

Write More Raw Material Than You Need

Last year, when I became a professor at the e-media department at the University of Cincinnati, I started working with more diverse media, and observing what goes into the making of even very simple videos. I worked with one of my colleagues on a 2-minute intro clip for an hour-long panel, and I assisted as […]

4-Ps of Marketing

E-Book Marketing 101

In case you missed it, my monthly column at Writer Unboxed was posted yesterday: A Checklist for Marketing Your E-Book. Here’s a snippet: Knowing how to effectively market your e-book can be a challenge if you don’t have any formal education or professional experience in sales and marketing. Plus, these days, the default strategy seems […]

Going Geek by John Carpenter

Using an Agent to Get on Kindle

I’ve been keeping an eye on John Carpenter and his book project ever since we first started having conversations on Twitter last summer. He’s a knowledgeable, savvy writer with a professional career in college admissions. His goal this past year has been to find a home for his book, Going Geek. Going Geek is a […]

Barbara Becker with son and grandsons, 1990

When Mom Was My Age (#44)

When Mom Was My Age is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear on random Mondays. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Barbara Ann Hess Hershey Becker (age 84), reflecting on her life at age 63, interviewed by daughter Shirley Ann Hershey Showalter. Shirley has […]

The Funny Man by John Warner

Using Word of Mouth (Not Media Attention) to Sell Books

I’ve known John Warner since my days as an acquisitions editor at F+W Media. He is among the most decent, classy, and talented authors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I acquired and edited three of his humor books at F+W (though only two were published—long story), and we partnered on a short-lived […]

Has Rejection Turned You Into Someone You’re Not?

“Don’t allow your wounds to transform you into someone you are not.” —Paulo Coelho It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while, I hear a story (second hand) about writers who have been wounded by my feedback. These stories reach me many years after the feedback has been given. Every single time, while […]

When Writing Doesn’t Pay the Bills

In celebration of Labor Day, Open Road Media has produced a video that features writers talking about the jobs they held before becoming full-time writers. You’ll hear about selling blood, working for the railroads, and getting fired from a movie theatre. Writers featured include: Lawrence Block, John Lutz, Andre Dubus III (speaking about his father), […]

Melanie Rae Thon (photo by Andi Olsen)

7 Reasons to Tell a Story in 2011

In the latest Glimmer Train bulletin, there’s an amazing piece by Melanie Rae Thon, “The Heart Breaks, and Breaks Open: Seven Reasons to Tell a Story in 2011.” Here’s a small snippet: … [E]very time you remember an episode of your life, you are reinventing it: embellishing, deleting, altering it through fusion and imagination. If […]

Storywonk Podcast

Listen to 20 Minutes of My Advice for Authors

I was recently interviewed on the StoryWonk podcast, with author Lani Diane Rich and Alastair Stephens. It’s a 20-minute discussion about publishing, new media, social media, and miscellaneous Jane-fu. Click here to listen.

Nobility of Time

How to Waste Your Time on Social Media

Last week, I discussed how you can waste your time trying to get published. You can also waste your time on social media, which I discussed over at Writer Unboxed on Friday, in case you missed it. Here’s a small snippet: No amount of expert marketing can make a poor or mediocre product sell—or gain […]

Michael Hyatt interview

Hello to Visitors From Michael Hyatt’s Blog!

Today, Michael Hyatt is featuring a 12-minute interview with me on his blog. We talk about the following: How important is an author’s “platform” to their success in the publishing world? Do you think there is still a role for traditional publishers in the future? What are the best practices of really successful writers? What […]

Margaret Jensen

When Mom Was My Age (#43)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Margaret Jensen (age 63), reflecting on her life at age 36, interviewed by daughter Megg Jensen. From Megg Before I e-mailed Jane about appearing in this series, […]

Reading Notebook #33: Enlightenment (and Love) Taste of Freedom

From “How to Know It’s Real Love” by Martha Beck, in Oprah magazine. Buddha once said that just as we can know the ocean because it always tastes of salt, we can recognize enlightenment because it always tastes of freedom. There’s no essential difference between real love and enlightenment. While many people see commitment as […]

2012 Writer's Market

To Learn About Your Readers, You Need a Site

In the newest edition of Writer’s Market (and Writer’s Market Deluxe), there’s a featured interview with me, where I discuss the future of publishing, websites and blogging, and Twitter strategy. Here’s a brief snippet: Your personal website is impressive, incorporating your blogging, tweets, an e-mail newsletter sign up and more. What do you see as the […]

Alan Watts

I Am Always Sincere, But Never Serious

I am always sincere, but never serious. —Alan Watts When I started my first professional blog, I struggled to give it a name. While I thought I could offer helpful information, the truth about writing advice is that it’s only helpful if you’re the kind of writer who benefits from it. Not all writers do […]

Cheryl Christmas Soper

When Mom Was My Age (#42)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Cheryl Christmas Soper (age 55), reflecting on her life at age 33, interviewed by daughter Katharine McKinney. From Katharine My mother is in many ways my dearest […]

Writer's Digest (July/August 2011)

Are You Wasting Your Time Trying to Get Published?

Don’t you wish someone could tell you if you’re wasting your time trying to be a writer? Or if you’re at all close to getting traditionally published—assuming that’s your goal? In a recent issue of Writer’s Digest, I have a feature article, “Revising Your Path to Publication,” that attempts to address these (rather) unanswerable questions. […]

Inis Meáin

Grantwriting 101 for Writers

It doesn’t occur to most writers that there is “free” money—from government and nonprofit foundations—that is available to support creative projects and professional development. However, it requires writing grants, and it’s not a skill or experience that many people have. If it’s something you’re curious about, here’s a primer. Before You Consider Applying for a […]

Facebook logo

3 Principles for Facebook Fan Pages

Facebook is the No. 1 most popular website in the United States in terms of visits, which means it’s more popular than Google. According to its own stats, Facebook has 750 million users, 50% of which are active on it every day. This alone makes Facebook an important site when it comes to author marketing […]

Amy Stolls

How Much Has Book Marketing Changed Since 2005?

Amy Stolls is the author of The Ninth Wife, a novel just released from HarperCollins as a paperback original. The premise: What sane woman would consider becoming any man’s ninth wife? I had the pleasure of meeting Amy in late 2010, before her novel’s release, while serving on a panel for the National Endowment for […]

Chiang Mai wat and yellow buddha

Don’t Feel Guilty About “Playing Around” Online

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others […]

Storify Willamette

3 Invaluable Takeaways for Writers: Willamette 2011

I speak at many writing events each year, and I always love to pass on the most useful advice I hear. So I’m starting a series through Storify where I curate and headline some of the best conference advice that I find reported via social media. Click here for the goodies.

Kindle

5 Things Beginners Need to Know About E-Book Publishing

The e-book publishing landscape is changing fast—with new services, new terms, and new formats. Despite the pace of change, here are 5 things that have remained fairly constant this year—and that you must be aware of—before you undertake any kind of self-publishing process for e-reading devices. I promise to update this list should any of […]

Patricia Jean Saiger Limbacher

When Mom Was My Age (#41)

“When Mom Was My Age” is an interview series between daughters and mothers. New interviews appear every Monday. If you would like to participate, contact Jane. The following interview is with Patricia Jean Saiger Limbacher (age 47), reflecting on her life at age 20, interviewed by daughter Rachel Saiger. From Rachel My mom, Patricia Jean Saiger Limbacher, is […]

Christina Katz

The Secret to Twitter That Can’t Be Taught

I’ve found Twitter—and many aspects of social media—somewhat tricky to teach. Why? Here are 3 reasons to start: Using social media is mostly about being YOU, finding your voice, and finding the right audience (those inclined to listen). Your strategy, motivation, or purpose will be different—and it will change—depending on where you’re at in your […]

List Making & The Creative Process

I love making lists. Big-picture lists, daily lists, grocery lists, checklists … you name it, I list it. I even make little list tools that sometimes other people enjoy. (For example, click here for my Weekly Goal Sheet. Here are specific instructions on how to use it.) Lists are a personal thing—they speak to the ineffable […]